Science

6:12am

Fri February 15, 2013
Research News

Scientists Look To The Internet To Raise Research Funds

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 8:39 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Scientists have made an important discovery, and not really a scientific one. They've learned they can raise money for their research simply by going on the Internet and asking people for support. We heard yesterday how that worked for one researcher. Still, scientists have no idea why this approach is working or how much money they can raise this way. Here's NPR's Joe Palca with the next installment of his project Joe's Big Idea.

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5:02pm

Thu February 14, 2013
Shots - Health News

Darkness Provides A Fix For Kittens With Bad Vision

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 8:57 am

Scientists found that darkness worked far better than they expected as a treatment for kittens with lazy eye.
Bill Rhodes/Flickr

When it comes to treating a lazy eye, there's evidence that turning the lights off may help — if you're a kitten.

A study in the latest issue of Current Biology reports that kittens with a type of visual impairment known as amblyopia, or lazy eye, were able to regain normal eyesight after being plunged into total darkness for 10 days.

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4:38pm

Thu February 14, 2013
Animals

With Brawls And Calls, Love Is In The Air For Elephant Seals

A male northern elephant seal calling near Santa Cruz, Calif.
A. Friendlaender NMFS Permit No. 14636

On this Valentine's Day, we bring you a story from the California coast, where love is in the air. It sounds something like this:

That's a male northern elephant seal. It's the peak of their mating season right now. Elephant seals spend of the most of the year alone, out in the Pacific Ocean. So you can probably guess what happens when they get together every winter.

Naturalist Lisa Wolfklain is leading a public tour at Ano Nuevo State Reserve, two hours south of San Francisco, where hundreds of elephant seals are packed together on a narrow strip of beach.

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3:34pm

Thu February 14, 2013
Shots - Health News

Traces Of Anxiety Drugs May Make Fish Act Funny

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 5:40 pm

Perch exposed to the anxiety drug oxazepam were more daring and ate more quickly than fish that lived in drug-free water.
Courtesy of Bent Christensen

Many of the drugs we take aren't actually digested — they pass through our bodies, and down through the sewer pipes. Traces of those drugs end up in the bodies of fish and other wildlife. Nobody's sure what effect they have.

Now, a paper being published in Science magazine finds that drugs for anxiety drugs — even at these very low levels — can affect the behavior of fish.

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1:30pm

Thu February 14, 2013
The Salt

When Resistance Is Futile: Bring In The Robots To Pull Superweeds

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 2:08 pm

An illustration imagines what a weed-seeking robot could look like, armed with different tools to attack different problem plants.
Courtesy Steve Young

A future without weeds would be a kind of farmer utopia, but currently, herbicide-resistant "superweeds" are part of today's reality. Some researchers, though, are looking for a solution that seems ripped from science fiction: weed-seeking robots.

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1:20pm

Thu February 14, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Embracing The Beauty In Life

The alpine peaks of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in 2008.
David McNew Getty Images

Judy Van der Veer is an American author (1912-1982) who wrote books that are too little remembered now. In her works of fiction and non-fiction, Van der Veer beautifully brings alive small California worlds close to nature.

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8:40am

Thu February 14, 2013
Shots - Health News

Scientists Pass The Hat For Research Funding

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 1:28 pm

Car commercial? Nope. Jessica Richman, Zachary Apte (center) and William Ludington are looking to the crowd for money to fund uBiome, which will sequence the genetic code of microbes that live on and inside humans.
Courtesy of uBiome

When the X-ray was invented, people clamored to get one. Not for any medical reason, but just to see what was typically hidden inside their bodies.

Something like that seems to be happening with DNA sequencing technology. First it was companies offering to sequence people's genomes. Now it's learning all about your microbiome, the collection of microorganisms living on and in your body.

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8:09am

Thu February 14, 2013
Krulwich Wonders...

Guy Pumps Out A Valentine — Literally

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 1:47 pm

Courtesy of Payam Rajabi

Last year, Payam Rajabi got a new job and had to leave Toronto and his girlfriend, Clare, and move to San Francisco. All that left him feeling a little down — until he came up with his upsy, downsy valentine idea.

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6:28am

Thu February 14, 2013
Science

Scientist Gets Research Donations From Crowd Funding

Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 11:44 am

Vimeo

What do you do when you're a scientist and you have no job and no money for your research? If you're Ethan Perlstein, you try crowd funding. He raised $25,000 to investigate where the drug methamphetamine is stored in the brain.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

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1:38pm

Wed February 13, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Kepler's Genius: Letting Nature Have The Last Word

Circa 1612, German astronomer Johannes Kepler (1571 - 1630)
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Of all the patriarchs of science, Johannes Kepler is the least known. We often talk of Isaac Newton and his law of universal gravity (and laws of motion, and the calculus, and laws of optics), of Galileo's impetuosity and his telescopic discoveries (and law of free fall and pendular motion), and of Copernicus, the man who put the sun in the center of the cosmos. But Kepler? Sounds familiar; but what was it again?

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